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National Referral Mechanism Annual Summary 2017:The number of potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery reported to the authorities rose by more than a third, according to a new report released by the National Crime Agency.

The National Referral Mechanism end of year summary shows that in 2017 5145 potential victims were referred into the system, up from 3804 in 2016.

And for the first time British citizens were the largest nationality recorded in the figures, up from 326 in 2016 to 819 in 2017.

The increase in British numbers is largely down to an increase in minors being referred into the NRM as suspected victims of labour or sexual exploitation, up 66 per cent. This increase is due in part to a rise in ‘County Lines’ gang exploitation referrals, where minors had been exploited by criminals involved in drug supply. These are recorded in the labour exploitation category.

NCA Director Will Kerr said:

“It is our assessment that the increase we are seeing here is driven by an increased awareness and greater reporting of modern slavery and that is to be welcomed.

“However, it also adds further evidence to our view that the figures almost certainly represent an underestimate of the true scale of slavery and trafficking in the UK.”

Those referred as victims of modern slavery and human trafficking (MSHT) came from 116 different nationalities, with UK, Albanian and Vietnamese nationals remaining the most commonly reported victims.

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National Referral Mechanism Annual Summary 2017:The number of potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery reported to the authorities rose by more than a third, according to a new report released by the National Crime Agency.

The National Referral Mechanism end of year summary shows that in 2017 5145 potential victims were referred into the system, up from 3804 in 2016.

And for the first time British citizens were the largest nationality recorded in the figures, up from 326 in 2016 to 819 in 2017.